BFC Family Member Injured: Send Your Love and Support
The BFC family was hit hard this week with the news
that Willow Coefield, the 15 year old daughter of long-time
BFC board members Su Gregerson and Jim Coefield and
a dedicated BFC volunteer in her own right, was hospitalized
after being injured in a bad car accident.
Over the past decade Jim, Su, and Willow have devoted
tremendous time, love, and energy to the BFC's bison
protection efforts. Without their dedication there would
be no BFC as we know it. Su launched BFC's email Updates
from the Field, created and maintained our original
web site, and ensured the financial stability of the
organization through her professional and creative fundraising
efforts. Jim has long been our technical guru, establishing
and maintaining BFC's email accounts and databases,
servicing our computers, and overseeing the layout,
production, and mailing of our annual newsletter. Together
they played a key role in formulating short and long-term
strategy and ensuring the stability and efficiency of
the Campaign. Willow has always been dedicated to the
buffalo, both here in West Yellowstone where she loves
to spend time with the buffalo and in Missoula where
she gives hundreds of hours to helping with mailings
and volunteering at special events.
Willow keeps amazing people with her strength, determination,
and healing but her injuries are serious and no one
knows how long she will need to be in the hospital.
Jim and Su have been at her bedside continuously and
for obvious reasons both are taking time off of work.
The last thing they need to worry about is money. Please
keep Willow, Su, and Jim in your thoughts and prayers
and, if you can, help provide the family with financial
support so they can keep their focus where it needs
to be: on Willow's healing and recovery.
Friends have set up a special account to help this amazing
family through this very difficult time.
Please send contributions via mail to:
Benefit for Willow Coefield
Account Number: 236030 (write this on the check and
Missoula Federal Credit Union
2001 Brooks St.
Missoula, MT 59801
If you'd prefer to make an electronic transfer, you
can do so with the following information:
Missoula Federal Credit Union
Benefit for Willow Coefield
Routing Number: 292977899
Account Number: 236030
If you have any questions about how to make a contribution
to this account, please call the Missoula Federal Credit
Union at: (406) 523-3300
Thank you for your love and support in this difficult
Buffalo Field Campaign volunteers, coordinators, and
* Update from the Field
After the DOL's aggressive hazing operations throughout
May, Montana's landscape has been haunted. It seemed
nothing was left of the buffalo but the sign they had
been there, and our memory of their powerful, gentle
presence. But the woods around here get pretty thick
and buffalo are very good at making themselves invisible
when they need to. Being nomadic and strong willed,
they also will go where and do what they want; the agents
hadn't gotten them all. Unfortunately, those that managed
to escape the DOL's wrath were eventually found.
On Tuesday, the DOL first buzzed out on ATVs to haze
a group of five bulls off a large field near Fir Ridge,
less than a mile from Yellowstone National Park. They
ran the bulls to the edge of the Park, that line on
the landscape that dictates their fate. The livestock
inspectors then joined up with agents from the National
Park Service (NPS), Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
(FWP), and Gallatin County law enforcement, loaded horses
on trailers and headed to Horse Butte, where they found
no buffalo. From from the Butte, the agents spotted
a group of about twenty moms, babies, yearlings and
young bulls along the south side of the Madison River.
This small family group had managed to use the forest
to their advantage, eluding the DOL's helicopter and
horses for the past couple of weeks. But their peace
would soon be broken.
Two DOL agents arrived first in their truck. They were
in a foul mood. While waiting for the horses and backup
law enforcement to arrive, the agents tried to haze
the buffalo on foot, yelling at them, throwing up their
arms and throwing sand and rocks. They also harassed
us, shouting orders for us to return to our car, attempting
to prevent BFC from documenting their actions. Though
they threatened us with arrest, they would not prevent
us from bearing witness for the buffalo. Three horses
and riders soon arrived; the agents mounted, law enforcement
was in place, and the haze began.
This wily group of buffalo had eluded the agents a few
times before, and they made it a challenge for the agents
to kick them off their land. For the agents, it was
a couple hours of confusion and mayhem within the thick
woods. Eventually, the horsemen ran the buffalo family
across highway 191 and - without warning - right through
Gallatin National Forest's Baker's Hole Campground,
where dozens of people were spending vacation days,
soaking up Montana's beauty. Unconcerned for the safety
of the campers, the horsemen hazed the buffalo through
camp sites and into the Madison River towards the Park,
as they've done numerous times.
Afterwards, we asked the law enforcement (NPS and Gallatin
County sheriff) if they had given any warning to the
campers at Baker's Hole to let them know that twenty
wild buffalo chased by horses would be stampeding through
the campground, jeopardizing their safety. They offered
nothing but excuses, and were quite incensed at us for
questioning them. Shirking responsibility and touting
his "twenty years of experience in this" the
NPS agent even went so far as to try and accuse BFC
of harassing the buffalo! Challenged, he quickly gave
up that non-debate, retreated to his car and drove off.
While the government and livestock inspectors will go
to any length to rid Montana of wild buffalo, they are
also looking forward to the buffalo's return this winter,
when hunters will again be waiting for them at the border
If only we could learn to be more like the buffalo and
less like the thing humans can become. Maybe then we
could learn that there is no gain in greed and there
is nothing in Nature that is ours to control. If we
listen to the buffalo, we can learn to live gently upon
the Earth and in agreement with our fellow creatures.
Maybe then we would understand not merely co-existence,
but living symbiotically, in harmony. Nature may be
red in tooth and claw, but she is not greedy.
* Montana Will Propose Expanded Bison Hunt
MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) held two meetings
last week to discuss the recent hunt and their future
plans. Most in attendance were representatives of BFC
and FWP agents themselves. It was a great opportunity
for some frank discussion. BFC outlined our continued
opposition to the hunt and pointed out the failings
we witnessed this year. Today we learned that FWP plans
to recommend issuing 100 permits, one hundred too many
and twice as many as last year. If FWP gets their way,
seventy of the permits will be to kill buffalo in West
Yellowstone and thirty will go to kill buffalo in Gardiner.
Sixteen permits will again go to eight Montana tribes.
The agency also plans to issue female-only tags in addition
to either-sex tags.
On June 8th in Helena, FWP will present their recommendations
to the FWP Commission. Another meeting will be held
sometime in July, where FWP will make their final recommendation
to the Commission. Opportunities for public comment
will be available throughout the process, and there's
no better time than the present to let your voice be
heard for the last wild herd!
For the time being, please contact FWP Region 3 Director
Pat Flowers at email@example.com
and elaborate on the following points:
1. No habitat, no hunt! Wild buffalo
must be provided year-round habitat in Montana, the
opportunity to restore themselves and establish a viable
population within the state before a hunt can be considered.
If they insist on a hunt, suggest that FWP increase
the bison hunt application fee, with at least $15 from
each application going towards the purchase of Montana
2. No Department of Livestock (DOL)!
Though FWP crafts the regulations of the hunt, the DOL
remains the authorizing agency and - as we witnessed
this year - can cancel the hunt to harass and slaughter
buffalo. The DOL should stick with inspecting and managing
cattle, and should have no dealings in any aspects of
wildlife management. FWP must strengthen their backbones
and demand the DOL's authority be revoked.
3. If FWP insists on a hunt, it must
be as fair as possible. To prevent hunters from hovering
at the border of the national park, suggest FWP create
a buffer zone of *at least* 1/2 a mile from Yellowstone's
boundary. Also, demand that they forbid hunters from
shooting buffalo on Dale Koelzer's property, the site
of the Duck Creek bison trap and the agents' bison harassment
headquarters in West Yellowstone.
4. Tell FWP that you expect them to
better educate hunters on the behavior of wild buffalo.
Buffalo will mourn their fallen brothers and sisters,
and if a hunter insists on killing a buffalo, they must
respect them enough to give them the opportunity to
do this. Hunters should be forbidden to harass mourning
buffalo and must refrain from throwing rocks or other
objects at them.
5. Wild buffalo must be classified
- year round - as a native wildlife species. Currently,
wild buffalo hold a dual status in Montana. During hunting
season they are classified as both "an animal in
need of disease control" and also a "game
species." As natives to all of Montana, buffalo
should be permanently classified, respected and valued
as a native wildlife species.
6. Question FWP about whether this
hunt, given the lack of fear bison have toward humans,
can meet the state's legal requirement of "fair
chase," and if FWP genuinely believes that the
bison will become more skittish around humans in time,
how will that behavior change affect the ability of
millions of tourists to enjoy the bison in Yellowstone
National Park, and why hasn't FWP ever evaluated that
potential impact in any of its hunt documents?
Please include your own thoughts, ideas and feelings.
Remind FWP that the Yellowstone bison herd is the last
wild herd left in the country and that as such, it deserves
protection, not more persecution. If you are a hunter,
your voice has a special place in these discussions;
wild buffalo need you to advocate for their right to
roam free and restore themselves on all available habitat
prior to any hunt.
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
and please send a copy to
BFC at bfc-media"at"wildrockies.org.
For more information about the hunt, or to view video
footage from the last hunt, visit: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/legislative/bisonhuntingbill.html.
* Summer Tabling Opportunities with BFC!
Buffalo Field Campaign has positions open for summer
tablers in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
from June 10 through September 5, 2006. We are looking
for 3-4 dedicated people who are well-versed on the
buffalo issue and enjoy talking to others about it.
You can help tell the buffalo's story and inspire action
from the millions who flock to the Parks to admire them.
If you've been wanting to experience the beauty of the
Yellowstone ecosystem and speak out for the buffalo,
we want to hear from you! Applicants should be hardworking,
outgoing, friendly folks who are comfortable camping
for up to five days at a time (in the parks - what a
dream!). A minimum commitment of one month is required
(and appreciated). BFC will provide a small stipend
as well as room and board.
Interested? Contact Stephanie Munce at buffaloatwildrockies.org
or call 406-646-0070.
* Tatanka 2006 ~ Built to Spill Benefit Concert
Join BFC for a rockin' benefit for the wild Buffalo
& Buffalo Field Campaign in Boise, Idaho with Built
to Spill, Travis Ward & Junkyard Bandstand, and
Bales of Hey Saturday June, 3rd, Big Easy Concert House.
Tickets are on sale now and have been reduced in price
from $21 to $15! We'll see you there!
For more information and to order tickets please visit
Many thanks to Built to Spill and Ken Cole for making
this event possible!
* Last Words
"The killing by the state of Montana could threaten
the future of this national symbol and the biological
integrity of the last wild herd."
~ Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, 1997